Friends, I come to you today with news you can use. Christmas is basically tomorrow and that’s an absolute brain bender seeing as yesterday was April. BUT, here we are upon Christmas. I’ll tell ya – the best thing about this time of year at the Wilson house is Mom’s Famous Peanut Butter Balls. I use the word “famous” rather liberally but if you know my mom you have probably enjoyed her peanut butter balls several times over the last five decades.
Peanut Butter Balls are also called Buckeyes in Ohio because they resemble the Buckeye tree. We’re born and raised Californians and have lived without Buckeye trees our whole lives, so we call them peanut butter balls instead. My mom’s recipe has been kicking around our clan since well before our clan existed as she inherited the recipe from an ex-boyfriend’s mom. Bless it all.
When my sisters and I were living at home, we’d have a casual PBB factory. Picture that episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel take jobs in a candy factory. You remember how much candy they shoved in their face? Most of it, if we’re being honest.
These days my mom and dad handle most of the PBB production and each ball is portioned out as gifts with tender care. My aunt and uncle have empty holiday tins they bring to the house and shake like paupers hoping for a refill. It’s a whole thing.
Here you are, friends – our family holiday balls for your sharing and caring.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Peanut Butter Balls:
• creamy peanut butter – I like to use a Skippy or Jiff peanut butter (the sort with added oil) for these balls. Of course you can use natural peanut butter if you prefer!
• softened unsalted butter. Malleable enough to massage and mash.
• plenty of powdered sugar.
• vanilla extract and kosher salt.
• semi-sweet chocolate and coconut oil. The coconut oil will help the chocolate harden to a shell on the outside of the ball. But, long before we knew about coconut oil my mom used edible parrafin wax to make a chocolate shell. No lie.
Let’s get started! Mix together the softened butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until it forms a still dough.
I use a wooden spoon to start to incorporate the mixture but always end up washing my hands and massaging the dough to cohesive with food safe gloved hands. You can also use a stand mixer and paddle attachment!
While the peanut butter mixture is at room temperature, shape into round balls. I measure beach ball to a heaping tablespoon then roll between my palms to a tight and smooth ball. Refrigerate the balls for at least an hour to make them more sturdy to handle for the dipping.
With the balls rolled, melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler.
A double boiler is a heatproof bowl set atop a pot with a few inches of simmering water. The steam from the water heats the bowl and gently melts the chocolate and coconut oil without it seizing. The double boiler will also keep the chocolate warm and you dip and dip and dip.
Dip each ball halfway or fully submerged and allow to rest on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Wax paper also works in place of parchment. Place the tray in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so to set the balls and store in a large bowl or right on the tray loosely covered.
Set aside at least three of these peanut butter truffles for yourself. Store in an airtight container before gifting. We store them in the freezer with success. They’re sweet little treats and well earned if you made it this far into the year.
More holiday cookie bakes for you soon! Happy Baking!
And here’s My Top 10 Peanut Butter Recipes to keep you on the peanut butter kick!Print
Seven ingredients to heaven.
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I used not the all-natural peanut butter)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups powdered sugar (This is the amount of sugar my mom uses but truly you could use less – I’ve used 4 cups with success.)
- 18 ounces dark chocolate chunks (about 1 1/2 bags chocolate chips)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla, salt, and half of the powdered sugar. You can also do this by hand with a wooden spoon and clean hands.
- Blend on low speed until the mixture begins to come together. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the remaining powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be very thick, but not dry. The powdered sugar should incorporate easily.
- Remove the bowl from the stand and use a small cookie scoop to scoop dough and roll peanut butter balls between your hands to make a tight, round ball. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- In a heatproof bowl combine chocolate chunks and coconut oil. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water and let sit until chocolate begins to melt. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and reduce heat so the water is just at a low simmer.
- Remove the balls from the refrigerator and using your fingers, dip half of each ball into the melted chocolate, and return to the parchment lined sheet. Repeat until all balls are dipped and place in the refrigerator to chill and harden the chocolate.
- Keep peanut butter balls covered and stored in the refrigerator, or pack them in holiday tins and stored in the refrigerator for gifting. Peanut butter balls last up to 2 weeks if not longer covered well and cool.
Photos with Jon Melendez.